Sarah Smith talks to Screen Daily
With indie producers and sellers piling into the animation space, can Europe measure up to the powerfully resourced US studio brands and capture the family market?
Independent animated film is flourishing in Europe as never before. In Cannes, the market was awash in animated projects, many of them represented by sales agents who generally handle live-action fare. “I had lunch with friends in Cannes and one of my buyers told me that she was tracking 40 animated films this market,” says Solveig Langeland, managing director of German animation specialists Sola Media, of the wealth of animated product. “I have the feeling every second sales agency has an animated film. Five years ago, we had very few competitors. Now, they seem to come from everywhere.”
“I am certainly seeing more buyers who say they are actively looking for animated projects,” agrees Mike Runagall, managing director of London-based Altitude Film Sales, which handled worldwide sales on Studio Ponoc’s anime film, Mary And The Witch’s Flower. “Some buyers are trying to diversify, maybe arthouse buyers you wouldn’t necessarily always associate with animation are trying to branch out a little. That’s a consequence of the market for arthouse films becoming tougher.”
The obvious reason for the activity is the sector’s solid box-office performance. “There is just an appetite in the family market,” says Sarah Smith, director of Aardman’s Arthur Christmas. She is one of the co-founders of ambitious new London-based animation studio Locksmith Animation, alongside her old Aardman colleague Julie Lockhart and Shine Communications’ Elisabeth Murdoch. Twentieth Century Fox is releasing Locksmith’s first feature, Ron’s Gone Wrong, in 2020.
BY GEOFFREY MACNAB/ 11 JUNE 2018 Screen Daily
The new purpose-built, female-led studio is being fronted by Sarah Smith, Elisabeth Murdoch and Julie Lockhart, pictured left to right. “I’m here because of the amazing women I’m supporting tonight,” Blanchett told The Londoner. “Julie and Sarah have been leading for so long and them linking up with the likes of Liz is not only exciting for audiences but the industry. It’s time we saw women in these positions.”
Who knows, we might be seeing Cate in one of Locksmith’s forthcoming movies. “I’m a huge fan,” she said. “I remember the first time I saw an animation by Disney it blew my mind.”
Tuesday 27 March 2018 Evening Standard
All Annecy 2018 Co-ceo Double Negative Elisabeth Murdoch Film Festivals Fox Guardian Julie Lockhart Co-CEO Lissa-evans Locksmith Animation Locksmith-team Press Ron’s Gone Wrong Sarah Smith Co-CEO Screen Daily The Hollywood Reporter Twentieth Century Fox Variety 'Wed Wabbit'